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A new test for toxoplasmosis.

Experts estimate that half of all Americans have been infected with the parasite toxoplasmosis, commonly found in cat litter boxes. Although most have developed immunity to the organism, the fetus of a pregnant woman exposed to it for the first time can develop stillbirth, mental retardation, blindness, or epilepsy as a result. Each year, some 8,000 American children are born with the infection.

Drug therapy has traditionally been instituted during early pregnancy to prevent the mother from transmitting the organism to the fetus, but it takes hours for a lab technician to carry out the testing procedure. Thus, not only are toxoplasmosis tests expensive, but the chances of error are significant. Now, however, Abbott Laboratories is marketing a test for toxoplasmosis antibodies that has detected 97 percent of cases tested in trials. The new test costs only a few dollars and takes only 35 minutes to be completed on equipment already being used in hospital laboratories for other tests.
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Words:160
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